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Google, World Bank attempt to 'build the future of media'

Africa , 13 Jun 2017

Google, World Bank attempt to 'build the future of media'

Google and the World Bank have announced their support for an initiative that aims to train 6,000 African in digital and data journalism skills in a bid to "build the future of media" through mentorship and online tuition.

The new partnership sees Google News Lab and the World Bank working with data journalism and civic technology initiative Code For Africa to empower journalists through allowing them to better understand the web and develop stories using online tools.

The nine-month programme concludes in February of next year, and will see 6,000 journalists trained in 12 major African cities, namely Abuja, Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Casablanca, Dakar, Freetown, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, and Yaounde.

Training will begin with in-person training sessions, which will be held twice a month for the duration of the initiative, while an open online course (MOOC) will be made freely available online in August, covering a range of web concepts and practices for digital journalists.

Participants will also have the opportunity to attend monthly study group meetups for more focused, in-person instruction, with these scheduled to take place in Cameroon, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Daniel Sieberg, head of training and development at Google News Lab, said web and digital tools presented an array of options for journalists, but learning how to use these tools could be a daunting task for many media people.

"While the global news industry faces a knowledge challenge with regards to digital tools, Africa, by virtue of its non-digital education systems, faces even greater odds in the battle for digital integration in news and storytelling," he said.

"In Nigeria for instance, only a few of the journalism institutions offer training programmes that focus on web tools, and many top news organisations lose out on stories due to their inability to utilise newer and more engaging digital techniques."

Google last year announced its commitment to train one million young Africans in digital skills, and Sieberg the latest initiative was a logical extension of this.

"With the Digital Journalism initiative, we want to contribute to the growth of Africa's news and media ecosystem by training present, and future, practitioners on how to employ existing tools to tell stories, and support them to create locally-relevant tools that will reshape how Africans consume news," he said.

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